Wisconsin Solidarity Singers – numbers swell in response to arrests
Yesterday and today, Wisconsin Capitol Police conducted mass arrests of the Wisconsin Solidarity Singers.
Pics from today:
The Solidarity Sing-Along began at the Wisconsin State Capitol on March 11, 2011, and, every weekday since, a Solidarity Sing-Along has occurred during the noon hour. From the Solidarity Sing-Along Facebook page: "The sing alongs started up as the large protests and the Capitol occupation were ending. They serve to maintain a continuous progressive, pro-labor presence at the Capitol, as well as providing a place where Union members, activists, and citizens can come together and rejuvenate their spirits through song as we continue the fight against Governor Walker and his Republican allies. One of the many missions of Solidarity Sing Along is to create positive, progressive change through participatory song." Here’s a link to the Solidarity Sing-Along CD "This Is What Democracy Sounds Like".
The Wisconsin Capitol Police arrested a bunch of Solidarity Singers again today, but there were far too many people to arrest us all (numbers swelled enormously in response to yesterday's arrests and the energy was great). I would guess roughly 200 people attending today, with at least 100 in the first floor rotunda who refused to leave when illegal assembly was declared (i.e. appeared willing to be arrested). A total of about 26 arrests were made. Police came in multiple waves, arresting several people at a time. Arrests seemed to be a mix of targeted and random. Here’s a long Storify, including pics of today’s event, from a local paper, article from another local paper, and one set of pics.
The Solidarity Singers is a nice example of a dilemma action. Arresting a bunch of peaceful people who've come together to express themselves in song - arresting people joyfully singing civil rights songs, etc. - seeking to quash free expression is a space expressly designed for it - only backfires on the authorities making the arrests. IMO, dilemma action warrant wider use. Some articles on dilemma actions:
How to Create a Dilemma
The Dilemma Demonstration
Tactics That Tickle: Laughing All the Way to the Win